Mixing Red Wine, Chit chat and Curry

Mallika Basu - Mixing Red Wine, Chit chat and Curry

Posted 14th November 2006

prawn-curry.jpgYesterday, the guru of all blog gurus came over for dinner.

Hugh Fraser is the mother (maybe father) of all blog developers, a real blog consultant and my occasional tinkering technician.

The plan was that he would come over, I would teach him how to cook a chicken curry and then we would drink wine, chat and eat Indian food.

But, as is to be expected the ‘drink wine and chat’ bit kind of became the real focus of the evening. We ploughed our way through a bottle of Rioja and a bottle of Merlot before I could say ‘brown the onions’ and the less said about the chicken curry, the better.

Still, the valiant Hugh, undeterred by the sight of yellow chicken braved the Chingri Malai Curry or prawn coconut curry and Jeera Pulao, cumin rice. I hasten to add that these were cooked on Sunday and hence unspoilt by drunkenness and too much talking.

Far from being the star pupil, Hugh has resigned himself to waiting for the recipes to be posted so that he can teach himself instead of relying on me.

Here is my recipes to serve 4 for Chingri Malai Curry, a finger-licking Bengali dish that is eaten on special occasions:

400 gms raw king prawns (I used frozen ones)
1 onion
1 piece of ginger
1 tomato, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cloves
1 inch stick cinnamon
1 tin of coconut milk (400ml)
1 tbsp mustard oil
1 tbsp sunflower oil
One and a half tsp turmeric powder
One tsp chili powder
Half tsp sugar
Salt to taste

Grind the onion and ginger in a blender. Heat the oils and when hot add the whole spices and the sugar.

When the sugar caramelises into a lovely reddish brown colour, add the onion mixture and fry on a high heat stirring regularly.

When the onion mixture starts losing its pungent smell and slowly goes brown in parts, add the chili, turmeric and tomato.

This is the only tricky part of the recipe. You just have to fry all this until the onion and tomato mixture tastes smooth and cooked in your mouth. The masala paste will also turn a rich red colour.

When it does, add the coconut milk, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add the raw prawns, stirring gently until cooked.

Add salt to taste and serve immediately.

Now for the Jeera Pulao recipe, again to serve four:

2 cups rice (500 gms)
1 tsp whole cumin (jeera)
1 bay leaf
4 whole black peppers
4 green cloves or 1 fat black one
1 star aniseed
1 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste

Heat the ghee and fry the whole spices for a few seconds until they let out their lovely aromas.Add the rice and fry until the rice flakes turn a bright white, mixing in salt according to your taste. Don’t go too mad because the prawn curry will have salt in it too. Add 4 cups of water and bring the rice to a boil. When it starts bubbling, lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and wait until the rice absorbs all the water.

This aromatic rice is delicious with all curries. I think Hugh would agree too!

21 responses to “Mixing Red Wine, Chit chat and Curry”

  1. hugh says:


    It was a fabulous evening. Sorry I guzzled the wine while you were cooking, and hence don’t remember as much as I should. I do recall some of your tips, such as using the blender on the yogurt to stop it curdling the Korma. I learned that “garam” means spices, and the star aniseed is a particularly nice one. I was surprised to hear you say that you don’t like your food too hot.

    The dinner was amazing!. Even the rice on its own smelt so appetising. Olga (my wife) and I ate the food you kindly gave me to take home this evening, and it’s just as delicious, if not more so after 24 hours. I promise I will try some of your recipes and report back. But I’m staying off the wine for a week or so.

  2. […] Being a blog consultant is not without the occasional unexpected perk. Last night one came along in the form of a fabulous Indian home-cooked dinner. I’m ashamed to say I drank rather a lot of wine while Mallika Basu was cooking, and got quite plastered while holding forth on all subjects under the sun to her photographer husband, Andy. Mallika’s blog goes from strength to strength, and she’s making all sorts of interesting contacts – in fact everything is happening just as it’s supposed to. […]

  3. Mangs says:



    i really like doing the rice in a cooker… and when i make pulao, usually fry the spices, add in the raw rice for maybe a minute and then dunk the whole thing in a cooker and make it just as i would any rice. does the same apply for jeera rice, do you suppose? do the spices, put in raw rice and then take out, double water and pressure cook?

  4. reeta says:

    Wow!! u hv blog consultants in UK! Cool!!

  5. Mallika says:

    Hey Mangs – I think Jeera Rice would definitely work along the same principles. It’s just rice with different combinations of stuff in it. I’ve even tried this is a rice cooker, but I wouldn’t recommend it coz the cooker takes yonks to clean afterwards.

    As always, don’t forget to tell me how it came out…

  6. Ashwini says:

    But do you think the wine complimented the chicken curry? 🙂
    I am always wondering which wine can be served with Indian food.
    Btw this is my first visit to your blog. Great work!

  7. Mallika says:

    Thanks Ashwini. It did work because I didn’t have a bad tummy the next day (too much info?). Sometimes when the wine is too acidic, it can really hurt the next day. More on this later, promise!

  8. […] Use expensive or fancy ingredients to get away from cooking many dishes. For example, prawns and pulao. This will let you make more of an impact without the effort. Time is money after all… […]

  9. Jakob says:

    This is exactly what I expected to find out after reading the title g Red Wine, Chit chat and Curry at Quick Indian Cooking. Thanks for informative article

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  11. […] this could spell disaster for our regular rice supplies! Life minus perfectly fluffy rice, jeera rice would equal to a very sad place […]

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  13. […] finish, stir in the butter substitute and enjoy piping hot with some aromatic pulao. This entry was written by Mallika, posted on July 18, 2007 at 5:15 am, filed under Cooking to […]

  14. […] dal just melts in the mouth. This dish is lovely sprinkled with fresh coriander and served with Jeera Pulao. But if you fancy making an extra effort, I would recommend some home made naan to go with it. […]

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  19. Michael says:

    How many onions are required. This is not listed in the ingredients. Thanks.

  20. […] weekend, I made prawns malai curry using the recipe posted by Mallika Basu in her website and it was incredible! A fairly simple recipe, it did not consume a lot of time […]

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